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David Brown Collection

Identifier: UA 5.061

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection contains material related to David Brown's education at the College of William and Mary and his career in the Navy and NASA. It also contains material related specifically to the public promotion, research, operation, and remembrance of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew. The materials consist of photographs, articles, publications, news clippings, correspondence, and pamphlets, as well as artifacts such as patches, pins, coins, and decals. There are also CDs and DVDs regarding the shuttle mission. Larger artifacts include David Brown's Navy uniform and flight suit, his letterman jacket, a watercolor of the space shuttle and Brown's William and Mary blanket.


  • Creation: 1969-2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1999-2003


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

David Brown, a native of Virginia, received his B.S. in biology from William and Mary in 1978. During his four years as an undergraduate, he served as a resident adviser and was active on the gymnastics squad as a four year letterman. He was also a member of Pi Sigma and participated in Project Plus, an innovative educational program which led to coed housing on campus. Brown obtained his doctorate in medicine from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1982. He then joined the Navy and became a flight surgeon, training as a pilot and naval aviator. In 1996 he was selected by NASA to train as an astronaut. Brown returned to William and Mary to share some of his insights as convocation speaker in 2002. He then became the first William and Mary alumnus to fly into space as a member of the STS-107 Columbia research mission in January, 2003. Tragically, he and his fellow crew members lost their lives upon the shuttle's reentry to Earth. In honor of his achievements, he was posthumously awarded the William and Mary Alumni Association's Award and the athletics department established the Dave Brown Memorial Endowment for scholar-athletes in his honor.

For more information regarding David Brown's life and career, see the official NASA website: . Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .


1.25 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

Arranged into the following series: Education and Biographical Materials; STS-107 Columbia Mission, Publicity and Memorials; and Columbia Mission Maintenance and Training Manuals.

Acquisition Information:

Items received from Douglas Brown, 2004; items received 4/28/2006 from Fred Ward; items received from Cliff Gauthier.

Related Materials:

A gymnastics award given to David Brown was separated from this collection and added to the University Archives Artifact Collection in March 2011, and was given the accession number 2011.155.

Separated Materials:

David Brown's 1975-1976 Colonial Echo yearbooks from William and Mary are housed separately from other portions of the collection. Lastly, Philip Chien's autographed book Columbia Final Voyage: The Last Flight of NASA's First Space Shuttle is housed separately from this collection in the University Archives book collection and can be found in the library's online catalog.

A gymnastics award given to David Brown was separated from this collection and added to the University Archives Artifact Collection in March 2011, and was given the accession number 2011.155.

Guide to the David Brown Collection
Finding Aid Authors: Katie Ross.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository